2nd photo of the day 7/13/2011 - photo © Mark I Chester.
Chuck Solomon in KING OF THE CRYSTAL PALACE. 3/1983, Theater Rhinoceros in San Francisco.
If I remember right, Chuck was directing and the lead actor left, so Chuck also became the lead. This shot is the last shot of the show. Chuck's character talks about the times and how things are changing. As he talks, one by one as each character is mentioned the light on them goes out. It was like people disappearing one after the other in an instant. And that is the life we were living in SF then. You turned around and people just disappeared.
Until finally at the end, only the light on Chuck remained but, in the end he turned out his own light. It was horrible and poignant and beautiful and oh so incredibly painful. Even if I have forgotten the words that end the show (something like - suddenly you turn around and it's all gone), I've never forgotten the terrible beauty of that ending. And isn't that the true power of theater when it is at its best?